4. Thoughts on the Margin of the European Parliament’s Decision Concerning the Reports on the Negotiation of the EU-Azerbaijan and of the EU-Armenia Association Agreement
April 21, 2012
“Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.” ~Italian proverb
I find it somehow symbolic that the reports on the Negotiation of the EU-Azerbaijan and of the EU-Armenia Association Agreement were put together on the Agenda of the EP plenary on 18th April 2012.
Why did I choose this agenda point to make it subject to my Blog?
Both Azerbaijan and Armenia are very important countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood of the EU. These states are taking part in the EU’s official Eastern Neibourhood policy. As a matter of fact, a particular accent had been given to this partnership from the European side also under the Hungarian EU Presidency in the first half of 2011, and a general summit was held on 29-30 September 2011 in Warsaw under the Polish EU presidency.
(Comment: The European Union formally launched the Eastern Partnership Initiative at its Prague summit on 7 May, 2009, setting, within the framework of its Neighbourhood Policy, the goal of developing economic and political relations between the EU and six former Soviet Republics.
See further details on the website of the HU EU Presidency)
Therefore as a starting point of our remarks, both reports shall be regarded as part of this partnership framework.
Separate remarks on the 2 countries in a nutshell
Negotiation of the EU-Azerbaijan Association Agreement
(source of the photo © wikipedia )
Azerbaijan – as it was stated several times during the plenary discussion in the EP – is very rich in natural energy sources. There are several important plans of pipelines on the table which aim at binding Europe and the azeri gas fields.
In addition to that, Azerbaijan become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2012-2013 which is also an important opportunity for the country.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the respect of human rights become much more a core issue of further dialogues between the EU and Azerbaijan.
The details and the concrete content of the adopted reports can be seen following this link: EU-Azerbaijan
Negotiation of the EU-Armenia Association Agreement
(source of the photo © wikipedia )
Armenia is often in the center of historical debates given to the well known massacre of armenian people in 1916, during the First World War. Even the mention of this fact by the French Senat freezened the diplomatic relations between France and Turkey.
However, the memories of the history should not replace the throughout analyses of the functions of democratic institutions. As in the beginning of May Armenia is facing general elections, the democratic fullfillment of a fair and free electoral procedure is of utmost importance.
The details and the concrete content of the adopted reports can be seen following this link: EU-Armenia
Let’s start to list the similarities. Both countries are not only close to the EU but also they belong to the Russian influence zone since we are talking about former U.S.S.R. member states. Therefore, they experienced the same difficulties after the collapse of the Soviet Union as did the already EU Member former European Soviet satellit-States (especially the Baltic states which were also part of the U.S.S.R.). This common heritage may be a ground of further communication which can facilitate the mutual cooperation.
Obviously, they are in a very central region between Russia, Georgia and Turkey, so these countries will also have a say when we are discussing about the future of the Caucasus.
Moreover, the general situation of Armenia and Azerbaijan is very similar. These countries may and shall became close partners which will be fructuous for both of them.
On the other hand, Armenia and Azerbaijan can also influence the European policy. May I give you a particular example.
One of the core issue of the long term history of the European Integration is the appropriate handling of national minorities. Some EU countries provide a modell solution for that (ex. Finland with the Swedish minority, or Süd-Tirol in Italy) nevertheless other EU and European countries still need the appropriate handling of those very important minorities.
Having said that, may I draw your attention to the autonomous region of Gagauzia in Moldova which is also one of the Eastern Neighboorhood country. Since the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh is also touch upon the collevtive rights of the national minorities, a similar solution would resolve appropriately not only the existing problem but also give a very positive example-solution to Europe, as well. Such a generous act can easily accelerate the furher negotiations with the EU.
Finally, the EP Plenary accepted both reports. It can be regarded as a positive sign for 2 important countries from our Eastern neighbourhood. There is an existing European positive heritage and the success of the European Integration after the aftermath of the IInd World War could be a goal to be followed for those countries which have also survived a recent bloody war.
PS: In addition to the above mentioned facts, may I share with you my personal experience with the Azeri-Armenian conflict.
I would like to provide you with a personal experience. In 22 february 2007 when I worked as a clerk for the Court of Appeal of Budapest (Fővárosi ítélőtábla) in Hungary our Council dealt with the case of Ramin Safarov Sahib an azeri national soldier from the region Nagorno-Karabakh. This region is the symbol of the division between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The situation is similar to that between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.
The Criminal council of the Court of Appeal of Budapest sentenced him to life imprisonment since he killed an armenian young soldier with a large axe when he slept. Both of them were participating in a NATO English course at the University progeam of the Zrínyi Miklós National Defence University in Budapest in Hungary and the reason of the act in the framework of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was that the victim was Armenian.
In this particular legal case I also experienced how serious can became regional conflicts in our everyday life.
Further details in Hungarian:
A helyzet rendkívül összetettségét jól mutatja, hogy az ügy túlnött önmagán, és a konkrét tényállás kereteit túlfeszítve az eset által az örmény-azeri konfliktus is napvilágra került.
Jól emlékszem a sajtóvisszhangra és a felfokozott érdeklődésre a tárgyalás előtti napokban. Az ügy rendkívüliségét jól alátámasztja, hogy miközben a tanács ítélethirdetésre készülődött, már tudni lehetett, hogy Azerbajdzsánban Saharovot az év emberének választották a vád tárgyává tett tettéért.
Mint ismeretes, a Fővárosi Ítélőtábla lényegében helybenhagyta a Fővárosi Bíróság ítéletét, amelyben az elkövetőt az emberölés többszörösen minősített esetében (előre kitervelt, aljas indokból elkövetett), valamint emberölés előkészületében találta bűnösnek. A büntetés nem tényleges életfogytiglan, amelyből az elkövető leghamarabb 30 év múlva bocsátható feltételes szabadságra.
Az eljárás során külön beavatkozó képviselte az örmény sértett érdekeit, így az ügyészség és a bíróság mellett négyszereplőssé kezdett várni a történet.
A fenti körülmények mellett az azeri hatóságok részéről ha felmerülne, hogy a büntetés fennmaradó részének végrehajtására Azerbajdzsánban kerüljön is sor, arra csak akkor lenne mód, ha Magyarország megfelelő garanciákat kapna az ítéletben foglalt büntetés végrehajtására.
Természetesen nincs az az ítélet, ami elveszett életet vissza tudna adni. Azonban arra rendkívül tanulságos volt ez az ügy, hogy hová vezethet a meg nem értés és az ellenségeskedés, és mi az, aminek nem szabad többé megtörténnie. Azt hiszem önvizsgálatra nemcsak az eljárás résztvevői, hanem az ügyben ilyen vagy olyan irányban véleményt nyilvánító azeri és örmény hatóságok számára is lehet átgondolnivaló.
A részletekről az alábbi cikkben érdemes utánaolvasni.
I remain at your disposal.
the compressed URL of this blog entry ► http://bit.ly/102ySBb
► Follow @EU_Hemicycle on Twitter
► Join the ongoing EU Hemicycle discussions on LinkedInEU ZMK's Diary